3. Talk to a French lawyer or paralegal

Can I have my civil trial in French?
This question has an answer and 4 steps

3. Talk to a French lawyer or paralegal

You don't always have to hire a lawyer or paralegal to help with your legal problem. But a lawyer or paralegal can help you understand your legal rights and responsibilities, and the options you have.

Lawyers can give legal advice. This means they can explain what the law says and how it applies to your situation. Make sure you talk to a lawyer with experience in the legal area you need help with. Some lawyers only deal with specific areas of law.

The Association des juristes d’expression française (AJEFO) has a directory of French-speaking lawyers. You can search the directory by name, city, or area of law. You can also search for a lawyer who accepts legal aid certificates.

paralegal is another kind of legal professional that can give legal advice in certain areas. But a paralegal is not allowed to work in all the legal areas that a lawyer can.

Lawyers and paralegals must tell you about your right to have bilingual proceedings. You decide what language you want your proceedings to be in, not the lawyer or paralegal.

If you choose French, lawyers and paralegals must have sufficient knowledge of French to be able to:

  • communicate with you orally and in writing
  • effectively represent you at court or tribunal hearings

If they are not able to do so, they are not competent to act on your behalf. In these cases, the lawyer should decline to act, or get your instructions to retain, consult, or collaborate with another lawyer who is able to provide services in French.

When you meet with a lawyer, ask questions like:

  • whether they are bilingual
  • how many French-speaking clients they have
  • their experience dealing with French speaking Ontarians

You May Also Need

Association of French-Speaking Jurists of Ontario (AJEFO) / Law Society of Ontario (LSO)
Law Society of Ontario
Reviewed: November 26, 2018

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